Coughlin-Ciattarelli Bill to Avoid Duplicative Solicitor License Fees Released by Committee

(TRENTON) — Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Craig Coughlin and Jack Ciattarelli that would require municipalities which license canvassers, peddlers, and solicitors to accept background check results from county prosecutors today cleared the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

Under the bill, A-815, county prosecutors would be responsible for handling the fingerprinting and conducting the background checks for individuals applying for a canvasser, peddler or solicitor license. If granted, the license would be valid in all municipalities within that particular county.

“Eliminating senseless and costly redundancies is just common sense,” said Coughlin, D-Middlesex. “Background checks are costly to begin with and can add up a great deal if someone is forced to undergo one for every town they’re seeking to work in. Under this bill, licensed solicitors approved by a county prosecutor would be able to have their license cross-honored in all municipalities in that particular county.”

Ciattarelli said the bill will help further reduce burdensome and costly government regulations for both license applicants and local police departments.

“Currently, certain applicants are required to seek licensure in multiple towns as a canvasser, peddler, or solicitor,” said Ciattarelli, R- Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “If enacted, this bill will eliminate duplication and save these applicants time and money by ending the need for them to pay the same fee and have their fingerprints taken multiple times. In so doing, this bill seeks to leverage regional models dedicated to making local government more efficient and streamlining application processes for applicants.

“Local police departments will also benefit as they will no longer have to dedicate staff and time to conduct background checks and fingerprint applicants,” he continued.

The measure also contains a six-month cap for the lifespan of the background check. Coughlin said the cap is needed because an individual can receive a clean background check, for example, on March 1, 2014, apply for multiple permits throughout the state, then commit a crime thereafter and the issuing municipalities would never know.

Many municipalities require applicants for a canvasser, peddler, or solicitor license to provide their fingerprints so that a state criminal history record background check of the applicant can be conducted by the State Police. The fee for fingerprinting and conducting the check is $41. A background check that indicates the applicant has a criminal record may disqualify an applicant from being issued the license.